The Matchup – The Colorado Avalanche (2-1-0) face off against the New Jersey Devils (1-2-1) in the first and only meeting of the season.
The Last Avalanche Game – The Avs defeated the Detroit Red Wings, 5-4, in a shootout Wednesday night. Down 3-2 after the second period, the Avs tied the game on a goal by Daniel Winnik at 4:43 of the third period. Patrick Eaves put the Red Wings back ahead, scoring a shorthanded goal at 7:52 of the period. But Colorado would answer back, with David Jones tying the game at four apiece at 11:24 of the third. The teams went to the shootout, and both Peter Budaj and Jimmy Howard kept the puck out of the net. But in the sixth round, Brandon Yip beat Howard, scoring the game-winner in the shootout.
The Last Devils Game – The Devils defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 1-0, in overtime on Wednesday in Buffalo. Both Ryan Miller and Martin Brodeur kept the game scoreless through regulation, with both making big saves. In the overtime period, Jamie Langenbrunner skated the puck to center ice, and fed a pass to rookie defenseman Matt Taormina. The rookie brought the puck deep into the zone, and momentarily lost it. He regained the puck and fed a pass to Ilya Kovalchuk, who went down to one knee and blasted a shot over Milller’s blocker for the game-winning goal
The Last Avs – Devils Game – Last season, the team’s only faced each other once, on January 16. The Avalanche struck early, with Chris Stewart giving Colorado a 1-0 lead 3:17 into the first period. T.J. Galiardi scored a late period goal to extend the lead to two. The score remained 2-0 until the third period, when Rob Niedermayer cut the lead in half. But the Avalanche would add a late insurance goal to win the game, 3-1.
The Devils wouldn’t leave the game completely healthy. Early in the second period, Patrik Elias took a vicious hit from Ryan Wilson. Skating down the right side, Wilson met Elias with a shoulder to the chest. The Devils’ left-winger laid on the ice for several minutes, but waved to the crowd as he was taken off the ice.
For a full preview of the historic matchup between the teams, click here.
Finally Full – The Devils will finally have a full roster to play tonight. After the team moved injured Brian Rolston to the LTIR, the Devils recalled Jacob Josefson, Tim Sestito and Matt Corrente from Albany of the AHL. All three are expected to play tonight, with Josefson making his NHL debut.
Tonight’s Matchup – Wednesday’s game was the best of the young season for the Devils. They played a complete game, were aggressive on the forecheck, and made the smart plays. They only scored one goal, but that’s what sometimes happens when a great goalie is in the net.
So, what does the team need to do tonight? Repeat that performance from Wednesday. The Devils need to pressure the Avs and their young forwards and defenseman and force them into mistakes. They need to be strong on the puck and make the right decision. Most importantly, the Devils need to skate hard for 60 minutes. As I said above, the team finally has a full four lines to play. That means every player should be busting it out there because they have the extra legs.
The Devils also need to pressure Craig Anderson. He’s a good goalie, but he’s no Ryan Miller, and he’s given up at least three goals in all of his starts this season. If the Devils can cause pressure early and often, they may be able to jump out to an early lead.
Game time is 7 p.m., and you can catch all the action on MSG Plus.
Here’s tonight’s projected lines from the morning skate:
Forwards: Zach Parise – Travis Zajac – Ilya Kovalchuk; Patrik Elias – Jason Arnott – Jamie Langenbrunner; Dainius Zubrus – Jacob Josefson – David Clarkson; Rod Pelley – Tim Sestito – Adam Mair
Defenseman: Henrik Tallinder – Andy Greene; Colin White – Matt Taormina; Alexander Urbom – Matt Corrente
Goalies: Martin Brodeur, Johan Hedberg
To hold you over until tonight’s 7 p.m. puck drop, it’s today’s edition of The Devils’ Sports Page:
Devils defenseman Mark Fraser out 4-to-6 weeks with fractured right hand; Rolston surgery a success (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
MacLean looking at options for Friday’s lineup after tonight’s call ups (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
Devils call up Josefson, Sestito, Corrente (Tom Gulitti/Fire and Ice blog)
Matt Corrente, disappointed with demotion, glad to be back with Devils (Rich Chere/NJ.com)
Win-win situation for Devils (Mark Everson/NY Post)
Kell Named Captain For Second Straight Season (Mike Ashmore/Inside The Trenton Devils)
Media Day Update (Mike Ashmore/Inside The Trenton Devils)